Ruff days are over for Matt
THIS energetic, fluffy and big-bellied dog is a far cry from the skinny, matted, flea ridden mess that was found on the side of a road near South Kolan almost a year ago.
In fact, it's hard to believe it's the same dog.
In November last year, the pup was taken to the RSPCA, which was forced to shear the little poodle-cross to detangle his fur and rid him of fleas that survived three treatments.
But Matt, who got his name from the condition of his fur, had a happy ending when he was taken in by Maynard Rd pensioner Maxine Foster about a month later.
Since teaming up with Ms Foster, Matt has become a quasi hearing dog, a constant companion and friend to her cat, Keisha.
"When he first came here, he was terrified of the cat," his loving owner said.
"He would walk down the hallway and, if the cat was there, he would stop and walk the other way."
But Matt has changed since those early days and the cat has taught him a few things about being on four legs - including how to eat dog biscuits and how to use a litter box.
Ms Foster said Matt had also learned to alert her when someone was at the front gate.
She said the decision to take Matt in had been an easy one.
"When I saw him on the news, I just heard this voice in my head that said 'get him'," she said.
Ms Foster then spent the next three weeks visiting Matt at the RSPCA, who were caring for him until he was well enough to go to a new home.
It is easy to see Matt's love for his new owner - the little pooch rarely strays from her side, always ready and waiting for a pat.
"We go on a walk two times a day and he gets three meals a day," Ms Foster said.
Matt shows few signs of his severe neglect in the past, apart from a mistrust of men and a slight limp in his back legs.
RSPCA Bundaberg shelter manager Vicki Beer said it was pleasing to see the dog doing so well after such a tough trot.
"I think (dogs like Matt) finally realise they have it good and they start to appreciate what they have got," she said.
Ms Beer said the shelter was almost full, with a huge number of pups abandoned on their doorstep recently.
"I came to work on Saturday and found two pups running in the shelter that someone had just dumped there," she said.